Power wins in Toronto, lengthens IndyCar point lead
Ryan Hunter-Reay muscled his way past Scott Dixon to take the final podium position ahead of his Andretti teammate Tony Kanaan.
Graham Rahal bumped and banged his way to a 5th place finish for Newman/Haas Racing after starting well back on the grid.
For Power it was his 4th win of the year, the only driver to win more than one race. It was Power's 2nd win in Toronto, having one a Champ Car race previously. In doing so Power lengthened his series point lead to 42 over Dario Franchitti.
Power drove a near flawless race and made his only mistake of the day on the opening lap, when he fell from second to sixth on the opening lap. Power regained a couple of positions on track, and his Team Penske crew, by virtue of pitting at the far end of pit row, earned him a couple more during the first round of pit stops on Lap 20.
By mid-race, it was a fight between Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Wilson, defending race winner Dario Franchitti, and Power. Franchitti led much of the middle stages of the 85-lap contest, but was passed by both Wilson and Power during the final round of stops on Laps 53-54 because he pitted one lap earlier.
By Lap 60, Wilson had opened up a 3.5-second lead over Power and appeared on his way to an easy win. But then caution flew and the filed bunched up. On the restart on Lap 71, after the sixth of a record seven cautions in the race, everything changed. Wilson spun his rear tires on the run to the green flag, and Power pounced, taking the lead into Turn 1 and from there he was never headed, holding off Franchitti for the victory. Later that lap, Wilson spun without contact in Turn 8 trying too hard, leading to a disappointing 7th-place finish. He took full responsibility for the miscue and apologized to his crew afterward.
"I'm just really happy to be in the Verizon car," said a happy Power. (About his start going from 2nd to 6th): "I saw Ryan and Helio going for a big move and I didn't want to be taken out so I just said well that's enough and got out of the way. It's such a wild race that a lot of stuff plays out." (About restart on lap 71): "I knew just from the marbles and the pick -up that the restart was going to be really slippery. I saw him make a mistake coming off the straight so I got a run on him and pulled it off."
Polesitter Justin Wilson led the most laps and could have won the race for Dreyer & Reinbold but Power beat him on a late race restart and then Wilson made a mistake and spun in Turn 8 to throw away any chance at victory.
Seven different teams finished in the top-10 on a day that featured more bumping and banging than a demolition derby. There were six full-course caution flags for six crashes, plus there were numerous other incidences that only required a local yellow.
“It feels really good to be back with Newman/Haas Racing and finish fifth with Quick Trim on board," said Rahal who had to fight like a bull in a China shop to get toward the front. "A top-five finish is a great way to start off and move forward. The guys worked really hard all weekend. When we showed up the car wasn’t close. In the race it was a lot better. It will be great going to my home race next at Mid-Ohio coming off of some momentum like this. The car was only put together Monday and left Tuesday afternoon without an engine. For us to throw this together and be as successful as we have been in the first outing hopefully means it will only get better from here. It’s definitely comforting to come back. When I sat in the car for the first time it was really good. I was right at home just with different colors on the car. Literally, I came here and just jumped in the car. The seatbelts fit; the mirrors were right. It was almost too good. Even on a normal weekend you have to adjust something so that was great.
(On contact with Ryan Briscoe:) “I was a lot quicker than Ryan and I had a really good run down the back straight. I got on Push to Pass right out of the corner and he just blocked me. He blocked me all the way into the braking zone and he broke on the inside and I wasn’t expecting him too so I just punted him. He was against the wall and I was waiting for him to move out. Then he hit the brakes before he ever moved. That’s what happened and I hate hitting anybody; that’s not my style. But seriously, if you’ve got a run on someone like that and they’re blocking you, that’s what’s going to happen.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, winner Honda Indy Toronto): "I'm just really happy to be in the Verizon car." (About his start going from 2nd to 6th): "I saw Ryan and Helio going for a big move and I didn't want to be taken out so I just said well that's enough and got out of the way. It's such a wild race that a lot of stuff plays out." (About restart on lap 71): "I knew just from the marbles and the pick -up that the restart was going to be really slippery. I saw him make a mistake coming off the straight so I got a run on him and pulled it off."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 NHR/Quick Trim): "It feels really good to be back with Newman/Haas Racing and finish fifth with Quick Trim on board. A top-five finish is a great way to start off and move forward. The guys worked really hard this weekend. When we showed up the car wasn't close. In the race it was a lot better. It will be great going to my home race next at Mid-Ohio coming off of some momentum like this. The car was only put together Monday and left Tuesday afternoon without an engine. For us to throw this together and be as successful as we have been in the first outing hopefully means it will only get better from here. It's definitely comforting to come back. When I sat in the car for the first time it was really good. I was right at home just with different colors on the car. Literally, I came here and just jumped in the car. The seatbelts fit; the mirrors were right. It was almost too good. Even on a normal weekend you have to adjust something so that was great. (About contact with Ryan Briscoe): "I was a lot quicker than Ryan and I had a really good run down the back straight. I got on Push to Pass right out of the corner and he just blocked me. He blocked me all the way into the braking zone and he broke on the inside and I wasn't expecting him too so I just punted him. He was against the wall and I was waiting for him to move out. Then he hit the brakes before he ever moved. That's what happened and I hate hitting anybody; that's not my style. But seriously, if you've got a run on someone like that and they're blocking you, that's what's going to happen."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic): "At one point in the race I was quite happy but when we changed to option tires on the first stop, it was very hard to get up to speed on restarts so I gave up a lot of positions there. We're going to look at our tire pressures and temperature to understand that. I was only able to pass one car. It was a very tough race but we came back in one piece which is important for the quick turnaround for Edmonton. Graham's fifth place finish is very good news for the team. I can also check his data for his restarts and any changes he made to his car during the race which will be good information to have for our next run."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "It was a very unlucky day. We had decent speed on the warm up and the car was good in the race. We had a problem in the first pit stop, but I think we had very good chances to recover because of all the accidents in the end. We were still very competitive but I don't know what Mario was thinking when he did that move, as he was more than five cars length behind me so I think he just missed his brakes and took me out. It is a shame and I sorry for my guys, as we were having our best weekend so far and I am truly ashamed that we couldn't finish our race here so now we have to think about Edmonton and hopefully it will get better there."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing/RACB): "It was quite a disappointing race for me. I did a good start and at the first stint I was P12 or 13, and then we missed a little bit on our first pit stop and I went to P17. Scheckter was behind me and he tried to attack me few times and at the last time I tried to brake later to keep him behind but it was obviously too late and I just hit the tires and had to stop there and wait for the marshals to push be back and restart the car, so I lost one lap due to that. I was my mistake and it could be a race where we could finish P9, so now we are going to focus on Edmonton next week"
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "It was another long day for the Venom car. We just didn't have it today. It really came down to an attrition race and I think that has a lot to do with where we finished. But, that said, it was nice to see all four Andretti (Autosport) cars finish inside the top eight."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "We did a great job today we what we had. The guys had great stops and we, unfortunately, benefited from people's mistakes, but that's just the race. I've made some mistakes in the past that has cost me the race, but all in all, not bad."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Air Wick): "Our Airwick car today was pretty good. It was all just about track position; I had to pit a lap early so Justin and Will jumped up ahead when they went a lap longer. This week we just didn't run quite quick enough, we were fast in practice, but wasn't quite fast enough to beat Will in the race. Just wasn't to thank my guys cause they did a great job, and here we are in second."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "We had a pretty tough pit stop, but I think a lot of people had a hard time, with the track and with marbles and everything. It was like qualifying the whole time. With all the chaos and all the yellows that was going on it I almost lost it four or five times. But it was a great finish for Andretti Autosport, it's a great team and I'm just happy to race with this fresh outlook for the rest of the season and everything. It's looking good from so we'll just keep plugging away."
DAN WHELDON, No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing: "t was disappointing that I made a mistake and didn't get a great start; I was on the inside going into Turn One quite deep and then the field bottled up and I made contact. That was my fault, but then the entire National Guard Panther Racing team made a comeback and made a big improvement here compared to last year. We all just continued to get better as this weekend went on and learned a lot of things that are really going to help us moving forward."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "Crazy race! Considering where we started, we got the position where we finished by being smart. The ABC Supply team did a very good strategy—couldn't be better. The pit stops were good and the car was picking up lap by lap but the incident with Simona killed my front tires. We were faster than the cars around me but on the restart, I got a good run off two and tried to make a move on her but it was hectic under braking to turn three. Everyone started to brake early and she braked early and I had nowhere to go so I had to lock it up and hope for the best. We crashed there but got away lucky cause she stopped me from going straight off. But it killed my front tires and that's how we lost our top-10 position in the last three laps. But the team did a very good job on the pitstops and strategy."
EJ VISO (No. 8 PDVSA - Jet Aviation -KV Racing Technology): "I got hit by (Dan) Wheldon in Turn 3 at the start and dropped several positions. But our pace was then good and I thought our car was coming along very well. Our strategy was good too. We were getting into position to move up in the race. I was racing closely with Tag (Alex Tagliani) and (Raphael) Matos. Tag took Matos wide and couldn't avoid clipping Matos' wheel. He spun and I got hit. We changed the rear wing and I went back out to at least finish today. It wasn't what we wanted but we got to the checkered flag. I thought our pace with No. 8 PDVSA car was pretty good. We'll get ready for Edmonton now."
PAUL TRACY ( No. 15 Make A Wish - KV Racing Technology): "I think we could have been a top seven or eight, but several things didn't fall our way. We struggled the first little bit with the handling. The car seemed to come alive at the end. My pace was as fast as the leaders and I was pretty happy with that. The yellow flags hurt us in the end. We want the first one and then get some green flag laps to get a little space for our second pit stop. But the three yellow flags put us in a bad position for our strategy. We felt we could run with the leaders if we got a break. We led some laps and got some good air time for Make-A-Wish, Honda Canada and Motegi Wheels. We had to deal with too much traffic after the first stop, and I tried to dive under Simona (de Silvestro) in turn three. The rear end got loose and I stalled. That put us back a lap. Then at the end, the car was quick. I learned a couple of things in driving the car today that help with the handling. I just wish we could have qualified better. But we learned some things today and we'll get better for Edmonton next week. This was a great week back home with all of the appearances for Make A Wish and Honda Canada. I was hoping for a better finish though."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "I think we should turn the page on this weekend. It was tough for our KV Racing team. We can look forward to the Edmonton race. I feel badly for (Takuma) Sato. I wasn't expecting him to be in that spot on the track. He was in my blind line and it was similar to Helio (Castroneves) and PT (Paul Tracy) last year. So the two cars came together. Later in the race, the car felt pretty good but we need to get ready to improve for Edmonton. We just need to forget about this weekend now."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "It's very sad. We had an awesome car and I think we could've fought for the win. (Meira) just broke very early going into the turn and I just didn't anticipate that. It's really too bad. The Team Penske crew had a great pit stop and we were looking strong. We'll regroup and come back with a better result next week at Edmonton."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): I made a bit of a bobble coming out of Turn 1. The cars in front of me were kind of messing round, they missed it a little bit. I followed a bit too hard and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) had a bit of a run. I held my typically line, moved over to the left, and he dove under. I had to go somewhere. He was just carrying way too much speed and hit the front of my car and put us in the tires. Before that, the car was pretty quick. We had troubles early on in the race but we definitely came back. Thought we could have had a shot at fourth or fifth but it didn't work out.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "That was just really unfortunate to be taken out by a non-championship contender. The Team Penske car was definitely capable of a top-five finish today and we lost a lot of valuable championship points. We were able to finish, but now we'll just have to put our heads down and get to work next weekend in Edmonton."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "It's a great confidence-booster not only for me, but the whole #7 GoDaddy.com team. It's the best finish we've had on a street course this season. We were really happy with the way the car was performing throughout the whole race. This is a good way to end a great weekend since we head to another road course next week in Edmonton. Overall, we were strong as a team with the four of us in the top 10."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus - KV Racing Technology): "It was an exciting start and I was able to battle with other drivers and gain a few places. Then I was following my teammate (Mario) Moraes. I caught up very rapidly on him out of turn two and pulled alongside of him on the back straight. We went into the braking area in turn three, but I guess he didn't see me out there and made contact which unfortunately ended my race. It is so disappointing."
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